Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Can Italy Avoid Complete European Failure?

With all Italian teams out of the Europa League, hope rests on AC Milan, Inter Milan, and AS Roma to restore some sense of dignity for Italian sport by remaining in the Champions League. Can Italy avoid complete European failure this year? Possibly. In the long run? No.

Italian teams in Europe: all but down and out
Unfortunately, each remaining Italian squad in the Champions League goes into the vital second leg after losing at home. The likeliness of second leg turnarounds:

Inter Milan are most likely to overturn their 0-1 loss to Bayern Munich. They are on a rich run of form and were undone by Munich after spoiling many good chances to go ahead. Conversely, Munich are playing dreadfully in the Bundesliga. Of late, they were outclassed by the Steve Cherundolo lead Hannover 96 and ousted from the DFB-Pokal Cup, leading to assertions that Dutch Coach Louis van Gaal will be replaced this summer. 

AC Milan have a decent chance of overturning their 0-1 loss to Tottenham. The squad was highly boosted on the weekend after defeating rivals Juventus. Aside from that, it's hard to count out a side with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the starting 11. The Spurs are set to welcome back Gareth Bale from injury, who I am sure hopes to shread whatever right back stands in his way.

AS Roma are least likely to overturn their 2-3 loss to Shakhtar. The Giallorossi will have to win at the Donbass, a ground where Shakhtar is nearly undefeated in Europe. On top of that, a 2-goal win will be Roma's best chance to take the tie. It seems more likely that the Ukrainian powerhouse will waltz into the quarterfinals.

If you thought the present state of Italian representation in Europe was bad, the future does not look very good either. It was made official last week that the Serie A will lose it's 4th Champions League spot to the Bundesliga beginning in the 2012 - 2013 season. It was only a matter of time before this happened, given such poor performance in Europe.

A message to the Serie A: you've failed your fans

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